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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:29 PM
Original message
So who owns a bicycle? We can take down the oil beast
one step at a time. How many are willing to bicycle rather than drive to run their errands or go to work, weather permitting? In my younger days, I roller skated three miles to work and back everyday for ten years. It kept me in shape and saved money, not only in gas, but on the wear and tear on my car.

Who are willing to install alternative energy in their homes like solar panels? In many places you can sell energy back to the utility company with a reverse meter. The initial installation is pricey, but they pay for themselves in a matter of years from electricity savings. Also, sometimes I just like to turn everything off and light candles, cook on the barbeque outdoors and enjoy the sunset in the evening.

Also, the next time you shop for a car, look into a hybrid.

This of course doesn't stop consumption by commercial enterprises like airlines, but drip by drip it will help change the tide.
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. I was car-free for ten years, and I still take the bus as much as possible
And I'm saving up to buy a folding bike to get around the considerable disincentive of having to lug my current bike up and down four flights of stairs to ride it.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #1
6. That's one of the advantages of skates. They can't steal
them while you are wearing them and they fit handily in the back of a file drawer when you aren't using them.
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MatrixEscape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
2. Nope!
You also should consider that OIL is modern life now. Prepare to go back to pre-industrial, pre-modern life if you want to make a real dent.

Everything is oil. The economy is really oil. Oil is food, materials, chemicals, fertilizers, etc., etc.

We have to have a total transformation from petrochemicals to alternatives. However, what is renewable that can take the place of plastics and such? Can you use hemp? ;)
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:39 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Actually, I was thinking of spinning to make my own clothes from
scratch just as an experiment. Many of the local ranchers here have sheep and alpacas so wool is available. Also there are loads of flax type weeds that grow all over the place.

I read also about some scientists who were experimenting with making fuel for cars out of corn.
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. Gas ohol
used in Brazil extensively, it is not an experiment, it is deployed
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MatrixEscape Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #13
19. Good try.
How much petro-chemical power and materials, in total, does it take to make the Gasahol? Are the farm vehicles run on the product?

Keep in mind that fertilizer, herbacides, and insecticides for large-scale agriculture are petro.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. It is a renewable resource.
Why would fertilizer need to be chemical. If we had operations to compost our garden waste, this is all you need. This is what I do. I am an organic gardner and about the only pests I have to bait for anymore are snails. We are working on getting the chickens to take care of that problem and still keep them from eating the plants.
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sherilocks Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:05 PM
Response to Reply #13
25. Maybe you or someone knows the answer
I use a diesel powered vehicle. When I was driving in either TN or NC, I can't remember, but anyhow, I fueled up at a BP station that offered a diesel substitute that I believe was corn based. I didn't want to screw up my engine, so I got the usual diesel. Does anyone know anything about this diesel substitute?
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fugue Donating Member (846 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:42 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. Still a huge percentage of the oil we use is for cars
I forget what it is but it's over 50%. I remember seeing it once during the run-up to a vote on the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

I don't have a car. Never have. Of course, this is not any great testament to my ecofriendliness: I have a neurological disability that reduces my reaction time to the point that I'm not safe on the road. I've never had a license.

But it is comforting knowing that I've reduced my oil dependency by a high percentage!
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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #7
35. Half the oil burned by an automobile is in building it.
Not an exact figure, but close enough - half of the lifetime energy costs of a car are in its manufacture.
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:49 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. That is a great argument for NEVER buying a new car. Thanks! n/t
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UNIXcock Donating Member (464 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:38 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've recently committed myself to ride my bike to ...
... work at least one day a week. It is only 6 miles but it's along a heavily traveled thoroughfare and I'm a bit nervous about it. I have a rout that somewhat follows a canal but it adds an additional 4 miles.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:41 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. Yes, you should be wary about being safe or it defeats your
purpose.
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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #3
20. See if there is a League of American Bicyclists
Bike driver ed course you could take. Oh yea, statistics show that the bike path is much more dangerous than the heavily trafficed road. The danger point is at intersections, not cars coming up from behind.

You want to ride safe, ride assertively. There is such a thing as too far to the right.
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UNIXcock Donating Member (464 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:07 PM
Response to Reply #20
26. "There is such a thing as too far to the right"
... now that's a mouthful!
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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:39 PM
Response to Reply #26
36. Groan -- didn't even realize that one...
What I was trying to warn against, was the hug the curb, ride in the door prize zone style of riding that many practice. People say "ride like you are invisible" - I say "ride where they are looking" - that means with traffic, in the travel lane if it isn't wide enough to safely share, left turns from the left lane (not the right curb), using the through lane when a right turn lane is present, etc..

Yea, some will honk, scream, gesture. My response is always to smile and wave like they were a friend saying hello - it scares them. And I think to myself two things: They can't say they didn't see me, and a quote that I like to think was one of Twain's; "It is better to hold your tounge and be thought a fool, than open your mouth, and remove all doubt" (with emphasis on the second sylable)
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. My bicycle was stolen last week!
By my downstairs neighbor! I had the door to my 4-apartment house locked last Sunday, and the next morning, I found my bike missing. My first-floor neighbor is disabled and cannot ride a bike; the neighbor in the back apartment doesn't have the keys; so the only one who could have stolen it was the guy on the second floor--and he doesn't have a job, is known to be a drug dealer, and has a reputation as a street punk.

Fortunately, I have another bike which is about to be exchanged because it was defective and crashed.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #8
9. That's the problem with bikes. People always want to steal them.
Still there's gotta be a away to stifle thieves.
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MADem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #9
24. Paint it CRIME SCENE YELLOW
putrid purple, or neon lime green, and inscribe on it "STOLEN FROM (your first name here). If the thing looks ugly enough, no one will steal it--ya gotta make it totally lurid, though.

Biking is great, but we just had a good snowfall.

It'll be awhile before too many people start biking in my neck o'the woods....
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:46 PM
Response to Original message
10. I did many a hundred in my time
on my bike. Good memories. Two years ago I fell off the bike while on a simple little short ride and hurt my wrist badly. Last year, hubby, my bike pal, who did the hundreds with me, fell off his bike, actually did not fall but caught jacket on something and went boom while standing still, and broke his hip. Very bad time for months with that. We decided our bike days are over because too risky now that we are old.

I have two bikes that I will glady give to anyone who wants to use them in place of using a car or for just plain pure delight in riding.

I have a Raleigh and he has a Schwinn because he was loyal to his boyhood bike. LOL

Come get em if you want them.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #10
12. Since I am old too and can't roller skate anymore and I
shouldn't ride a two wheeler, I was thinking about those three wheeler bikes that aren't as easy to fall off of. As a bonus, there is a basket between the two back wheels to carry your groceries.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #12
27. true and I have seen those bikes that one sits down and propels the bike
while in a sitting position. That looks sort of weird, but it also looks safe enough (on a safe road with shoulders that are paved.) I met a guy once who used one because he had back problems and his MD or someone recommended this kind of bike for physical therapy. He rode it a few miles to work everyday , weather permitting.

Also have two pair of cross country skiis--LOL--come get em if you want em. One pair is Rosingnal and the other-- Trak. But boots all worn out. They will probably end up in Goodwill.

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lucabrasi Donating Member (96 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:48 PM
Response to Original message
11. I take the subway which is electric but...
that electricity is from ConEd which is just another form of oil use.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:51 PM
Response to Reply #11
15. This is where my solar panel idea comes in.
If home owners attempt to get most of their electric needs from solar then companies like con-ed would be supplying the industrial electrical needs of subways, hospitals and such mostly. There would be a big reduction in electrical usage from Con Ed if homeowners all used solar.
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idiosyncratic Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
39. My neighbor has several solar panels and his electric bill
is very low. I was thankful for his electricity when our power was out for five days after the fires in the San Diego area. He let me put my food in a big freezer he has.

I think solar panels should be mandatory for homes in areas like the Southwest where we have sun 80% of the time.


Oh . . . I used to ride my bike to work when I worked.
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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:49 PM
Response to Original message
14. Enough that they pose a storage problem...
I build my own recumbent bikes. I have 5 that are currently rideable, including a three wheeled tandem, and a dedicated commuting machine. (sealed gears and brakes, built in lights, and a luggage trunk). Steel cut for at least two more. (including a fully enclosed "velomobile" for winter use).

Here is the storage problem: The tandem has to hang from the ceiling for the rest to fit.


And here are less encumbered views of two of the bikes...
Frankenbike: my "sport" machine


Solvang Trondholm, our tandem.


We have had the hybrid (a prius) for 4 years now, and just took it in for its 30k service. (had Susan's father not taken ill, and caused us to make 12 trips to NJ in the past 18 months, it would still be a year before we hit that total). Now when I wind up in a car that doesn't shut the engine down when sitting at a light, it feels wrong...

The median auto trip in this country is under 2 miles. It should not take 2 tons of steel, several ounces of petroleum, and the time of an adult to deliver an otherwise healthy 12 year old kid to an athletic practice. Same for a half pound videotape.

Oh yea, even as badly practiced as cycling is in this country, its still safer (per hour) than driving. Done "correctly" (think driver of vehicle, following same rules) it can be 5 times safer than "average". And thats before you factor in the anti-obesity effects of regular exercise.

More on cycling
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:53 PM
Response to Reply #14
17. Wow, that's impressive.
Thanks for posting.
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Malva Zebrina Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:15 PM
Response to Reply #14
28. that is really impressive
great work. You are so clever. :toast:
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nadinbrzezinski Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:52 PM
Response to Original message
16. Look into hybrids
our Honda Civic has a range of 400+ miles on a 12.1 gallon tank... compare that to half on double the gas on the truck.

We will be using the truck very little, and once we can, intend to replace it for another hybrid.

So yes it still sucks gas, but if the fleet was replaced oh boy it would reduce emeisions and fuel use, and as is comuting by bike is not realistic for me.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 05:54 PM
Response to Reply #16
18. Bikes are not realistic for a lot of people, but many could
and should look into as an alternative.
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Swamp Rat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:02 PM
Response to Reply #18
21. I nearly stopped driving my car since 2001.
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 06:03 PM by Swamp Rat
I mostly ride a bicycle now, but if I have to haul music equipment I use my high-mileage compact car to do it. Back when I started, people said I was crazy when I said, "stop supporting terrorism; ride a bike."

Unfortunately, I recently transferred to a school that is too far and dangerous to ride a bike (no bike paths, bad streets and insane drivers). Now I am driving my car 30-50 miles per week... very depressing.

I wish I had a bicycle car. :(

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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:04 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. If most trips are under 2 miles,
cycling should be fine as a replacement. It would help if we had sane zoning, that didn't spread things as far as possible apart...
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Lydia Leftcoast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:17 PM
Response to Reply #23
29. That's why I live in the city, not in the suburbs
I can walk to a natural foods co-op, a regular grocery store, a locally owned coffee shop, a bakery, a locally owned hardware store, an organic butcher shop, several restaurants, a locally owned bookstore, and a public library without straining myself, and if I'm feeling more ambitious, or have a bike, I can meet almost all my needs.

And I'm also on a bus line, although that doesn't mean much, given the Twin Cities utterly pathetic transit system.
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Deja Q Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:18 PM
Response to Original message
30. 15 miles one way? With my physical ailments? Why hybrid when
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 06:19 PM by HypnoToad
biodiesel is more cost-effective, for what it's worth?

It's like a mosquito trying to drain the blood from a blue whale. It's not going to happen, not for a great deal of time.

I would like to, but it just isn't possible.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #30
32. Of course not everyone can do these things, but
many can and so far don't. So this is an appeal for those people.
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Rjnerd Donating Member (351 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:29 PM
Response to Reply #30
33. Diesel and hybrid aren't incompatible
Just not a popular enough option in the US. (especially since you would be combining two extra cost items, the battery pack, and a diesel engine)

The big gain with the hybrid is that you get to shut the engine off when you aren't moving. With full (rather than the honda partial) hybrids, you shut the engine off when heading downhill as well.

Nothing about a hybrid is gasoline specific. In fact, some of the huge dump trucks they use in open pit mines are hybrids. They charge batteries while descending into the pit, and use the energy to help it climb back out.
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shawn703 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:23 PM
Response to Original message
31. I will get a hybrid for my next car
But it wouldn't be possible for me to switch to a bicycle or use mass transit to get around. I have to drive between client sites all day, usually between 100-200 total miles a day (I can't ride a bike fast enough to make all those trips in a day!) The mass transit system here in DC also isn't good enough - I could be over an hour between client sites if I relied on it.
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robbedvoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:30 PM
Response to Original message
34. Bike, no car city dweller here. ya know, the voiceless.
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elcondor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
37. I was already car-free
Edited on Sun Nov-14-04 06:40 PM by elcondor
But I definitely plan to remain so . . . I love my Schwinn! :loveya:
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:41 PM
Response to Original message
38. so all the $$$ i was saving for my dream car (corvette)
is worthless?

(i only got about $100 saved up so far...lol)
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Zorra Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 06:46 PM
Response to Original message
40. Just got back from riding my bike. I ride it to the village for groceries
and to go anywhere that is within 3 miles of my house. I use less than 10 gallons of gas a month on average.

I am in great shape.

I love my bicycle.

Also use solar energy exclusively.
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-14-04 07:13 PM
Response to Original message
42. Which Bike brands are made in the USA?
Bike enthusiasts educate the rest of us. No made in China wheels for me. Is Schwinn still solidly American? All my past bikes were Schwinns.
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